Will Dallas Police Enforce New TX Border Security Law?

Dallas Police Dept Headquarters | Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said his department is currently evaluating the best way to enforce a Texas border security law that makes unlawful entry into the state a crime, even as the new measure remains tied up in the courts.

SB 4, which was supposed to go into effect on March 5, would have allowed state and local law enforcement officers to apprehend those suspected of violating the law.

The bill is currently wrapped up in a conjoined lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union. The plaintiffs alleged that the law was unconstitutional because enforcing immigration laws is supposedly within the sole purview of the federal government, not individual states.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that it would not end an administrative stay placed on the law by a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, meaning that the state would be allowed to enforce the law. However, the stay was removed less than one day later by another panel that heard oral arguments for the case on Wednesday.

In a statement sent to The Dallas Express on Tuesday, Garcia said that the department was “aware of the passage of SB4” and that the potential law is a “cause for concern for some in our community,” noting that the department will continue to evaluate the best way to enforce the law if it is ultimately enacted.

“The Department cannot prohibit or limit the enforcement of immigration laws; however, residents of Dallas, victims, and witnesses should continue to feel confident in working with the Dallas Police Department,” the statement continued.

“Until we have more clarification on the law, update Dallas Police Department’s procedures and General Orders, and provide additional training to ensure the protection of individuals’ civil rights, we will adhere to the current General Orders. Reducing and preventing violent crime in the City of Dallas remains the top priority of the Dallas Police Department,” he added.

In a more recent interview with The Dallas Morning News, Garcia struck a more decisive tone but still did not explicitly state that officers would arrest individuals suspected of being unlawful migrants.

“If this passes, we must have policies in place,” he said. “We can’t prohibit enforcement of the law.”

He also addressed concerns raised by some about the potential impact of the pending law, particularly claims that it would result in racial profiling and the targeting of Latinos.

Garcia told DMN that such speculation was “patently false.”

“There are issues with this law that raise concerns with parts of our communities, but adding an inaccurate representation such as this creates additional fear that doesn’t help and simply isn’t accurate,” Garcia said.

He explained that the department was going to undergo a review of its policies to ensure that they were aligned with SB 4 — in the event the law is actually implemented — while maintaining respect for individual rights.

SB 4 was one of the many steps the Lone Star State has taken in an attempt to manage the ongoing crisis along the southern border caused by an influx of unlawful migrants. However, the state has faced opposition from the federal government on several of these measures.

Texas is currently involved in lawsuits with the federal government regarding a floating barrier in the Rio Grande and concertina wire placed along the border meant to deter unlawful crossings.

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